Illinois ASCD, an association of educators dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching and leading, has awarded Butler District 53 with its Whole Child Award for Healthy - one of the five tenets of whole child learning. The other tenets are safe, engaged, supported and challenged.
The award recognizes schools that have gone beyond a vision for educating the whole child to programs and actions that result in learners who are emotionally and physically healthy, civically active, artistically engaged, prepared for self-sufficiency and ready for the world.
As a recipient, the District will receive a plaque and can send a group of teachers to the Illinois ASCD Whole Child Conference this summer.
“The Whole Child Award honors the extraordinary work done everyday in our schools to create a learning culture where students can thrive through healthy development,” said Superintendent Dr. Heidi Wennstrom. “I am so pleased that our teachers, staff and administrators are being recognized for their amazing efforts.”
Students’ health and fitness is an all-school endeavor. PE classes are held five days a week and not only focus on skill development but provide a heavy dose of health, nutrition and fitness. At the junior high, students participate in Fitness Gram tests twice a year to evaluate fitness levels and set goals to improve. Extra curriculars, athletics and intramurals are varied and abundant given the size of the school. And, special events and programs, like Mileage Club, Nutrition Stars, Olympic Day, visits from cardiologist and health food stores give students awareness and incentives to live a healthy lifestyle. The guidance curriculum at all grades helps students navigate their ever-increasing complex worlds. In addition, 7th graders take STAR as a required elective and learn “soft” skills like problem solving, coping and stress relieving. Junior high students also take health class, including units on mental health such as coping, time management and stress, components of physical fitness, nutrition, weight management and healthy relationships.
The results are telling. DuPage County Health Department showed that obesity in its kindergarten and 6th grade report was down 4.9 percent in District 53; there was a 20 percent increase in the hot lunch nutritious program over three years; 5,620 days were logged for student healthy choices in Nutrition Stars last year, 800 miles were logged by students last year for recess. With a student enrollment of just over 200 students at Butler Junior High, athletic participation rates have grown, from 122 students participating in 2013-14 to 132 in 2017-18.
“Our staff goes above and beyond to promote healthy minds and healthy bodies in order to lay the foundation for student success,” said Wennstrom.